To the thousands of Malaysian children, past and present, who are from broken homes, abandoned or victims of tragic circumstances, Mother Mangalam is MOTHER.
My husband, and I were thrilled that Mother Mangalam could meet us in person upon appointment. All of 84 years, she looked rather hale and greeted us warmly with her sweet smile. She led us in assured steps to her office and we chatted. We know and have heard of her wonderful work at the Pure Life Society, of which she is the life and soul for all 48 years
From a very young age, Mangalam was filled with a desire to live a life of service, to live a life for others. She took the road less travelled and the Pure Life Society is testimony of her great faith.
Of the thousands who have passed the annals of Pure Life Society, some have grown to be successful people in their own right. Among them : Abu Bakar Ahmad, Assoc Prof at University Malaya, Nantha Kumaran a successful businessman in the fertiliser business, the late Panchavarnam, a successful restauranteur in Australia and Wong Chee Keong, a microbiologist .
Mother Mangalam continues to dedicate her work with children. Looking after 65 children , ranging from 5 -18 years, boys and girls, has been and still is a constant challenge as these kids come from broken homes where the bosom of love and security are missing. Mother Mangalam stressed that in this globalising world, kids need even a firmer but kind hands and hearts to guide them to reach adulthood so as not to be led astray.
When asked if parents visit their kids, she says the Pure Life Society insists. In this respect, the mothers do their best but the fathers somehow disappoint.
Mother Mangalam confided she loves to write poems. At a sprightly age of 84, she wakes up before 5 am to pen her thoughts. But time does not allow her to indulge in writing with so many pressing matters of running a home.
I was rather passive during the meeting as I was developing a sore throat . Mother Mangalam recognised it. Straightaway, she picked up her phone and asked ever so politely for a decoction which she said will keep the sore throat at bay! Minutes later, her staff brought the tea for Ravi and the herbal drink for me in 2 stainless steel cups. Later into the conversation, she asked if it was alright. ' It's loosening', I replied. The grip at the vocals chords was letting up. Such caring all round!
For Ravi, it was some recollection of little bits of events when he was 10 years old. Mother Mangalam was happy to meet a relative ( his father, the late Dr.T. Markandu and Swami Satyananda were first cousins) of the founder of the Pure Life Society, Rev.Swami Satyananda.
In July, 2009, the Pure Life Society celebrated the 100th centenary birthday of the Founder-President, Rev. Swami Satyananda.
Rev.Swami Satyananda passed away in 1961. To this day, Mother Mangalam has held the fort so ably under her firm but gentle leadership.To be MOTHER to all races is rare but Mother Mangalam has achieved her dream of serving humankind. Her dedication to a life of service is inspirational and the footprints she leaves behind will surely be imprinted forever, not to be lost in the sands of time.
Information - The Pure Life Society
1.It started as a paper organisation in 1949 with the aim of promoting inter- racial, inter- religious understanding .
2. The Founder -President, Swami Satyananda, who during 1945 - 1951 was involved in relief work among the poor, displaced children and orphans in Singapore and Malaya, assisted by Mother ( then Sister) Mangalam.
3. In 1950, the Society felt the need to establish a Home for orphans and underpriviledged children as a result of WW2 which left in its wake, displaced families.
4. The first few barrack- like buildings were put up in 1952 by the Pure Life Society.
5. The Home is non- sectarian and non -communal, spiritual, cultural, educational and humanitarian in character. It comprises Indian, Chinese and Malay kids. .
6.. Following Rev. Swami Satyananda's untimely demise, Mother Mangalam (then Sister) was appointed President in 1961.
7. The activities carried under the auspices of the Society are two-pronged: 1) INSaF - the promotion of Inter-faith Spiritual fellowship ( INSaF) by way of forums, seminars and service 2)Welfare - Home for children who are orphans, abandoned, neglected, abused from broken families and from single parents.
The hour passed so quickly and we left Mother Mangalam inspired by her selfless service of a lifetime. In her own words,' pray and make living an art' and achieve this 'by the faint glimmer of light - the Divine Light shining from within'.
Batu 6, Jalan Puchong, 58200 Kuala Lumpur
tel: +6 03 7785 1087